ROUND-UP: Jan. 26-29, 2023

Protests and pilots were in the news last week, while CATO called for consumer contributions to the Ontario Compensation Fund. Jamaica was jammin’ over its new numbers, and Porter introduced a new loyalty program…


Canada’s surge of low-cost airlines is adding to an already existing pilot shortage that could become an even bigger problem for this country’s aviation industry in the years to come, claim industry experts. Start-up discount airlines such as Flair, Lynx, Canada Jetlines and Swoop have been rapidly expanding since the COVID-19 pandemic, but even before that a 2018 report by the Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace said that a third of flight operators in this country cited pilots as their biggest skills shortage and that an additional 7,300 pilots would be needed by 2025.

Consumers should help fund Ontario’s Compensation Fund, says the Canadian Association of Tour Operators, echoing long-held views by the retail industry that its members should not be solely responsible for mandatory consumer protection against supplier failure in the province, and equally that the Fund is insufficient to meet current needs. CATO’s call comes as the Travel Industry Council of Ontario continues a comprehensive review of its overall funding framework, including the “comp fund,” begun last year.

Over 400 visitors, 300 of them foreigners, were stranded in Machu Picchu on Saturday when Peru’s government shut the famed ancient ruins indefinitely in the wake of anti-government protests that are increasingly engulfing the South American country. The Culture Ministry said it had closed the country’s most famous tourist attraction, as well as the Inca Trail leading up to the site, “to protect the safety of tourists and the population in general.”


Led by growth from the Canadian market, Jamaica is “leapfrogging” previous forecasts and on track to achieve 11% growth this year. The projected growth is based on Jamaica’s primary markets with Canada strengthening its position to deliver 38.7% growth, the US showing steady growth of 7%, and UK/Europe ticking ahead at 5.3%.


Porter Airlines is relaunching its VIPorter loyalty program with additional membership levels, added benefits, and the enhanced ability for economy travellers to earn perks. The upgrades coincide with Porter’s new Embraer E195-E2 jet service on Feb. 1. VIPorter members will earn a minimum of five VIPorter points for every dollar they spend with Porter, including on airfares, checked bags, flight changes and seat selection. Points can be redeemed for flights across the growing Porter network using either points-only or a combination of points and cash.

 Air Canada has announced that Lucie Guillemette, Executive VP and CCO will retire at the end of April 2023, ending a career that touched five decades at the airline. A resulting realigned senior management structure will see Mark Nasr become Executive VP Marketing and Digital, and President of Aeroplan, while Mark Galardo will become Executive VP, Revenue and Network Planning, including responsibility for Air Canada Vacations. The new appointments will be effective May 1, 2023.


American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT), the world’s leading B2B travel platform, has announced a new agreement with climate tech company CHOOOSE to integrate its carbon emissions calculations across Amex GBT’s travel booking and reporting tools. The aim is to enhance Amex GBT’s sustainability solutions by increasing the precision and consistency of greenhouse gas emissions data and to build architecture for future carbon compensation.


Rocky Mountaineer is offering $150 p.p. off on all Canadian journeys and US$150 p.p. on its US route on select travel dates in 2023 when booked by Feb. 24. The “Explore the Rockies” and “See the Southwest” offers apply only to GoldLeaf service in Canada and SilverLeaf and Silver+ in the US.

For bookings made by Feb. 28. Silversea Cruises guests can save up to 20% on selected all-inclusive expedition voyages to Greenland, Arctic Canada, and Arctic Norway. Deposits have also been reduced to 15%. Sample excursions include the 10-day “Greenland: Reykjavík to Kangerlussuaq,” departing June 25; “Arctic Norway: Longyearbyen to Tromsø” on July 12; and, on Aug. 10, “Canadian High Arctic: “Pond Inlet, Nunavut (Round Trip).”


Three new South Australia tours join AAT Kings roster in 2023-24: the four-day “Outback Explorer” itinerary takes guests from Uluru through the stunning Red Centre to the winelands of Adelaide; and also the five-day “Adelaide to Kangaroo Island” tour and comprehensive week-long “South Australian Eyre Peninsula.” AAT Kings is a division of The Travel Corporation.

In Marathon, in the Florida Keys, the dog-friendly Salty Pup Adventures enables visitors to spend time on the water with their dogs (under 18 kg.) on a eight-metre catamaran-style vessel with Yamaha engines. The World Cat 270 SD offers spacious lounge seating at the bow, bench seating at the stern and is equipped with a large ladder for easy access to and from the water. Excursions include a two-hour sunset, four- and six-hour sandbar, four- and six-hour snorkel and sandbar, and six-hour island getaway tours from Marathon Sailfish Marina at 100 Avenue I.


Waldorf Astoria rendering

Hilton has announced the signing of the Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts brand’s third property in Mexico, the new-build Waldorf Astoria San Miguel de Allende expected to open in early 2025. Located in the heart of one of the most popular vacation destinations in the country, Waldorf Astoria San Miguel de Allende will offer 120 hotel guest rooms and 24 best-in-class Waldorf Astoria branded residences in the colonial city – a UNESCO World Heritage site – known for its architecture, thriving art scene and rich history.

 Marriott Hotels has debuted its first resort in the United Arab Emirates. The Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah Dubai is situated along the island’s golden West Beach across over 7,000 sq. m. of white sand seafront and features 10 dining concepts, an expansive pool, kids club, spa, fitness centre, water sports, and marine activities.


Cambria Hotel Orlando Universal Blvd. will welcome guests this winter. Located in the International Drive Resort area – near major attractions as well as local shopping and restaurants – this 118-room property offers amenities including a rooftop pool and lounge, state-of-the-art fitness centre, the sophisticated Veer Kitchen & Bar restaurant, rooftop bar and more.

The iconic St. Moritz hotel, dating from 1906, will re-open its doors this summer under its new name, Grace La Margna St. Moritz. The Swiss hotel sits above the local railway station, with a panoramic view over Lake St. Moritz. The rebirth of the 74-room property includes a new, modern extension with new rooms and an extensive spa area, next to the original historic Art Nouveau building. Bookings are being taken for July.


Effective April 7, UnCruise Adventures will allow guests to cruise regardless of vaccination status. Masks and tests are also not required and the cruise line will no longer sail with limited capacity.

Cunard reports that in the first week of January it booked more guests than any equivalent period in the last decade. The luxury brand saw strong booking momentum across 2023 and 2024 sailings, with summer itineraries and Queen Anne’s maiden season proving to be particularly popular.


Universal Orlando Resort’s annual Mardi Gras celebration will run daily Feb. 4 through April 16 at Universal Studios Florida. The parkwide celebration will feature cuisine inspired by Carnaval celebrations from New Orleans to Brazil to Belgium and beyond, plus a lively parade filled with vibrant floats where partygoers can catch beads by the handful. And on select nights, guests can cap the festivities with live concerts by top names in music. Access to Universal’s Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval is included with regular admission to Universal Studios Florida.

The largest cross-company global celebration in the history of The Walt Disney Co. kicked off Jan. 27 at Disneyland Resort – the heart of the celebration – with limited-time offerings taking place throughout the year. Highlights include platinum-infused décor throughout the resort; two all-new nighttime spectaculars: “World of Colour – One” at Disney California Adventure Park and “Wondrous Journeys” at Disneyland Park; the new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction; the opening of the reimagined Mickey’s Toontown in spring 2023; and the long-awaited return of the “Magic Happens” parade at Disneyland Park in time for spring.


Carnival Cruise Line’s annual ‘Amp Up Commission Challenge’ offering travel advisors the opportunity to qualify for higher commission rates in 2023. Through the program, agents will be able to increase their commissions up to 15% for the full 2023 year based on bookings made from Jan. 1 through March 31, 2023. Agencies that currently qualify for 10 to 14% commission will need to make from 20 to 125 bookings during the January to March 2023 booking period to qualify for higher commission levels between 11 and 15%, which will be applied to bookings made from April 1 through Dec. 31, 2023. Opt-in must be completed by Feb. 15 at


The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) kicked off its 2023 series of Tourism Town Halls. The coast-to-coast road show is designed give tourism stakeholders across the country an opportunity to meet with TIAC and its partners to better understand efforts on national and local tourism issues, and offers a forum for open dialogue, discussion, and debate. Dates are:  Jan. 27, Vancouver; Feb. 1, Toronto; Feb. 21, Halifax, and with locations TBA – Feb. 22, Quebec; Feb. 23, New Brunswick; March 7, Manitoba; March 15, Yukon; March 17, Nunavut; March 21, Newfoundland and Labrador; March 30, Prince Edward Island; April 4, Northwest Territories; date TBD, Alberta For information and to register, visit HERE.


TIAC has announced the addition of five new members to its Board of Directors: Matthew Jelley, President, Maritime Fun Group​; Philip Mondor, President, Tourism HR Canada;​ Jean-Francois Cote, Quebec City Tourism​; John Wilson, President, CEO, Wilson’s Transportation, BC​; and Laura Pallotta, VP Sales and Distribution, Marriott International. The organization is also announcing its new all-female Board executive team: Chair: Nina Kressler, Shaw Centre; and Vice Chairs Michelle Caine, Centennial College, and Teresa Ryder, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada.

Greek small ship cruise company, Variety Cruises, has named Steven Simao as VP of Sales for North America. For 30 years, Simao has honed his skills throughout the cruise industry for companies such as Norwegian Cruise Line and Holland America, and more recently, at Windstar Cruises where he served as VP of Global Sales.


The Islands of the Bahamas is celebrating 50 years of independence this year. While formal Independence Day is July 10, events will take place throughout the year.

The idea to link Lake Geneva and the lakes of Thun and Brienz dates to 1873, but the launch of the new GoldenPass Express in Switzerland marks the first non-stop train route between Interlaken and Montreux. The new trains combine metric and standard gauge, bridging the gap between mountain railways and high-speed trains, and will feature 2nd class, 1st class, and Prestige class, where there are 18 rotating seats that provide passengers with 360° views.


In 1970, the Boeing 747 made its first commercial flight when a Pan Am jumbo jet flew from New York to London.

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First published at Travel Industry Today